Police holding talks with Italians on weapon examination

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Police here are discussing with Italian authorities if the ballistic examination of the weapons on board merchant vessel 'Enrica Lexie', shots from which killed two Indian fishermen, can be taken up in the absence of their experts.

A court in Kollam, which had permitted the police to seize the arms allegedly used in the firing by Naval guards at the fishermen, on Thursday accepted the Italians' plea seeking presence of their representatives during the ballistic examination.

Ballistic experts from Italy are already on their way to Kerala, police sources said. "We do not know when they are expected to reach here. We are discussing with the Italian authorities if we can proceed in their absence".

The sources said if this was permitted, the ballistic examination could be conducted today itself, police sources told agencies here.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura had told reporters yesterday that the ballistic examination should be done in their presence.

Meanwhile, the ship which had been berthed at the out of port area is being brought to the oil terminal today for enabling the search operations.

Two Italian naval guards have been arrested and charged with murder of the fishermen killed in firing from the ship off the Kollam coast on February 15.

The Italians have been maintaining that they opened fire assuming the fishermen onboard the boat to be pirates.

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